MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin on Tuesday said that French assertions that President Vladimir Putin had promised Emmanuel Macron that Moscow would not carry out new military initiatives around Ukraine for now were “not right”.
A French official said Putin had made the pledge during long talks in Moscow on Monday evening with Macron.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia and France had not yet been able to strike a deal on de-escalating tensions around Ukraine, but said de-escalation was needed and that the meeting had provided the basis for further work on that front.
According to the same French official, Putin had also agreed that troops taking part in a military exercise on Belarusian territory near Ukraine’s borders will be pulled back once those war games are over on Feb. 20.
Peskov said troops would return to their bases in Russia after the drills, without giving a precise date, but pointed out that nobody had ever said the forces would stay in Belarus.
(Reporting by Dmitry Antonov; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Andrew Osborn)